Debt obligations can dramatically impact every aspect of your life. If they have impacted you, help is available. You don’t have to deal with your creditors alone. Our Oklahoma City bankruptcy lawyers can help!
We understand financial problems can be overwhelming. There is an alternative to the stress and pressure of incessant creditor calls. We can stop the collection calls and letters, foreclosures, garnishments and levies. We offer bankruptcy services done efficiently, professionally and correctly.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to give qualifying debtor’s a fresh start. Call us today and let us assist you in receiving that.
Individual chapter 7 cases start at $800.00 plus filing fees. We will be glad to work with you on a payment plan.
While you are making payments, we will begin preparing your case and will take calls from your creditors. If Chapter 13 is necessary for you, we will formulate a fee amount and payment plan based on your individual case.
In addition to the bankruptcy attorney’s fees, you will be required to take 2 online credit counseling classes (currently under $30.00) and are generally required to pay a filing fee to the bankruptcy court. For Chapter 7 cases, the court’s fee is currently $335.00 but can, if necessary, normally be paid in 4 installments.
If debt is impacting your life, please let us discuss your options and determine if a fresh start is right for you. Call or email us today to schedule a free 30 minute, no obligation consultation. We are here to help.
The following is a brief overview of the Chapter 7 process. It is not intended to be a complete listing of how any particular case will develop. Each case is unique and we will guide you through it with experience and confidence.
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the most common bankruptcy chapter used by individuals. It is called a liquidation in that all of your non-exempt property is liquidated, or sold by the Trustee and the funds, if any, are paid to your unsecured creditors.
In contrast to a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy involves an adjustment of your debts to pay your creditors, generally over a three to five year period. Only individuals with regular income may file a Chapter 13 case. If your income precludes you from filing a Chapter 7 case, if you have non-exempt property that you don’t want to lose, or if you are behind on your home or car and wish to keep them, a Chapter 13 case may be appropriate for you.
Will I lose all my property in Chapter 7?
No! In the majority of cases handled by our firm, the clients lose no existing property. Under Chapter 7, you are entitled to keep (“exempt”) property which is protected under Oklahoma law. A few examples of Oklahoma’s exemptions are: (1) unlimited equity in Oklahoma homestead as long as the lot is 1 acre or less inside city limits (160 acres or less if outside city limits); (2) $7,500.00 in equity in 1 automobile; (3) household goods and furnishings; (4) qualified retirement accounts; and (5) $4000.00 in clothing. Examples of non-exempt property are mineral interests, stamp or card collections, bank or stock accounts that are not qualified retirement plans. Our Oklahoma City bankruptcy lawyers will work with you to determine what property you have and you will know before you file if any of your property is at risk.
Who can file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Individuals, corporations and partnerships can all file under Chapter 7. However, only individuals can receive a discharge, which in many, but not all cases, is the goal of a Chapter 7 case.
Individuals with primarily consumer debts, whose income is above the state median income (which is a sliding scale depending on the size of your household) must pass a means test to determine if Chapter 7 is available to them. (If your debts are not primarily consumer debts, your income does not impact your eligibility to file a Chapter 7 case.
If your income is too high, or if you are behind on your home or car and wish to keep them, a Chapter 13 case may be necessary. We will help you evaluate all available options and work with you to ensure that the appropriate type of relief is pursued.
I’m married but my spouse may not want to file?
That’s fine! In some instances, where spouses have separate obligations, only one spouse needs bankruptcy protection. If you are not living separately, we will need your spouse’s income and expense information both for the means test as well as for your schedules. Don’t believe that a recent or impending divorce or separation precludes you from filing Chapter 7.
What is involved in contacting an Oklahoma City Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer?
Generally, we begin with a telephone call during which we obtain some basic information to determine your initial eligibility to file a Chapter 7 case. That is normally followed by a 30 minute in person or telephone consultation to discuss your specific situation and to determine if Chapter 7 is right for you. If it is, and you want to move forward, you can then retain us to represent you. After you pay the attorney fee (or we agree on a payment plan) we will begin working on your behalf. You will be provided with a packet which must be completed in order for us to prepare your petition and schedules. We will also begin taking calls from your creditors so you don’t have to. Prior to the case being filed, you will need to take an online credit counseling course. The one we currently suggest is $14.95. However, you are free to choose a different one so long as it is approved by our Bankruptcy Court. Following your completion of the online course, your approval of the petition and schedules, and your payment in full of the attorney fee, your case will be ready to file. The Bankruptcy Court charges a filing fee of $335.00. This can be paid at the time of filing or we can request that you be allowed to pay the fee in 4 monthly installments. The first installment must be paid at the time of filing.
What happens after my Chapter 7 case is filed?
Once your case is filed, the Bankruptcy Court will generate a Notice that is sent to you and all of your creditors that are identified in your petition and schedules. This serves as notice to your creditors that you are now protected by the United States Bankruptcy Code and that all attempts to contact or collect from you must stop. The Notice also provides the date and time of your 341 meeting, which is normally around 30 days after your filing date. In the time between when the case is filed and your 341 meeting we will be working with you to obtain and provide to the trustee required documentation involved in most cases (bank statements, tax returns, etc).
What is the Automatic Stay?
In short, it is a provision in the Bankruptcy Code that generally prohibits creditors from taking an act to collect a debt from you without prior approval of the Bankruptcy Court.
I’m currently being garnished, when will that stop?
As stated above, the automatic stay stops all collection activity, including lawsuits and garnishments, once the case is filed!
What is a 341 Meeting?
This is normally a brief meeting, conducted at the Bankruptcy Court, with you, your attorney and the case trustee. Your creditors have the right, but not the obligation to attend. In the time leading up to the 341 hearing, Aside from waiting for your case to be called, the meeting itself is generally 5 to 15 minutes.
What happens after the 341 Meeting?
If we have provided the trustee with all of the required documentation prior to the meeting, and if no issues arise from the meeting, you may have only 1 more obligation following its conclusion. You must take a second online credit counseling course. This second course, with the company we recommend, is $9.95. As with the earlier course, you are free to use a different company, but please ensure that they are approved by our Bankruptcy Court.
What about my home and car?
If you own and are financing a home, automobile or other asset that you wish to keep, you will likely need to enter into a reaffirmation agreement with that creditor. If you do not want to keep the asset, you will simply give it back. If you do enter into a reaffirmation agreement, with respect to that debt, it is essentially as if the bankruptcy did not occur. If you default on the agreement, the creditor can sue you and repossess the asset.
If you are behind on your home or car payments and wish to try and keep that property, a Chapter 13 case may provide you with the ability to do so. We will be glad to discuss that option with you.
What is a Discharge?
The Discharge operates to discharge you from your dischargeable pre-petition debts and gives you a fresh start. The Discharge does not operate to discharge student loans, recent income tax liabilities, other tax liabilities as well a number of other debts. We will review your debts with you to determine if you have any of these presumptively non-dischargeable debts. In some instances, you can retain us to attempt to obtain a discharge on some or all of these types of debts. In addition, if a creditor contends that your debt to them was incurred by fraud or other wrongful means, they have the ability to seek to have their individual debt declared non-dischargeable. If that occurs, you would have the ability to retain us to represent you in that action to try to preserve the right to discharge that debt. Like the automatic stay, the Discharge operates as an injunction against creditors prohibiting them from ever attempting to collect a discharged debt from you.
What about my credit?
A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Discharge will negatively impact your credit and can remain on a credit report for up to 10 years. However, if you are contemplating Bankruptcy it is likely that your credit report has already been negatively impacted.
Call us, we are here to help you!
It is very likely that the above general overview does not answer all of your questions or concerns. Please do not presume that you are ineligible for the protection that Chapter 7 provides without first talking to an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can assess your personal situation and provide you advice and guidance in making your decision. We are a phone call away!
Under Federal law we are required to state that we are a Debt Relief Agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.